For some reason we always have to find ways to make our favorite treats less desirable in order to fit a diet plan. That or we let the dessert be dessert and simply rationalize it later.
Truth be told any food you consume can be part of a healthy diet, even your favorite sweet treats. The important part is to ensure you’re getting the bulk of your nutrients from the right foods first.
Some people are still trying to find ways how to keep their caloric intake low while still being able to eat something without the guilt. While there are a number of “healthy desserts” online, the the real question becomes, are they the right ones?
Let’s take a look at healthy dessert options and several factors to consider when making them.
Avoid Calorie Counting with Desserts
Desserts that have a primary focus on lower calories or added sugar are not always healthy. Like we discussed in the clean or dirty bulk article, it’s possible to lose and gain weight eating nothing but sugary treats. The problem is you’ll end up with health related problems due to a nutrient poor diet.
Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and the same thing goes for desserts. Some folks consider protein bars a form of dessert, but these can even be bad for you. It’s always important to check the nutrition label and ensure whatever you’re eating has ample amounts of good nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Creating Healthy Desserts
The key to a healthy dessert lies in the ingredients you’ll be using. Let’s first discuss ingredients to limit.
Ingredients to Limit
Cutting calories is as simple as reducing the amount of sugar and fat in your desserts. This dynamic duo is found in almost every dessert as they are responsible for elements like texture and flavor.
The downside is that they also add unwanted calories. Listed below are ingredients that are rich in sugar and calories you’ll want to avoid:
- Heavy creams
- Egg Yolk
- White/refined flours
- Added sugars (brown sugar, table sugar, maple syrup, agave)
- Sweetened/condensed milk
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Creaminess and texture aren’t dependent on sugar. There are healthy substitutes that can accomplish the same goal.
For instance avocado, nuts, pumpkin, and overripe bananas all provide additional nutrients while keeping your favorite desserts creamy and delicious.
Products such as a date paste contains zero sugar but are rich in antioxidants and fiber. For egg alternatives, you can soak chia and flax seeds in water instead. Here are more examples below.
|Usual Ingredients||Healthy Alternative|
|Butter/Oil||Canned pumpkin, Avocado, Ripe Bananas, Nut Butters|
|Added Sugar||Dried fruit paste, Frozen fruit|
|White flour||Oats, Grain flour, Canned beans|
|Egg yolk||Chia seeds, Flaxseed|
|Sweetened milk||Greek yogurt, Unsweetened Plant-based milk|
Healthy Desserts to Try
1. Vegan Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding
Who says desserts can’t be delicious and healthy at the same time? With this one, you get a gluten-free, vegan pudding that contains 9g of fiber per serving.
The secret lies in its main ingredient, which are the chia seeds. When soaked in liquid, chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their own volume, thus, creating a natural gel texture that can be used in puddings and smoothies.
The best part? Chia seeds are great for weight loss as they can help draw water into your gut. Fiber also helps you stay fuller. Chia seeds are also rich in nutrients and contain 5g of protein per ounce and 9g of healthy fat. They are also rich in omega-3 that is essential for heart health.
2. Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
Keeping negativity aside, chocolate is good for your health. It’s the added sugar that makes it unhealthy as well as its over-processing. Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a seed that is high in antioxidants, fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. Cocoa also improves your overall mood, brain, and heart health too.
When it comes to choosing cocoa, avoid brands that are alkalinized. Alkalizing (dutching as some people call it) is the chemical that’s used to process cocoa powder to ward off its bitter taste. The result is lesser antioxidants and nutrients because of the alkalizing process.
These brownies combine black beans, chocolate protein powder, avocado, and dates. They provide 11g of protein, and 6g of fiber with no added sugar.